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Lowell Brueckner

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Karyn's Letter... Plane Accident


 Hi Everyone,
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support since Steve's accident.  We want you to know we have received and greatly appreciate all of your phone calls, emails and texts etc.  We aren't up for answering every phone call right now, I hope you understand, so we wanted to send the story and an update to all of you for now and will get back in touch with you as Steve feels up to it.  

The crash occurred on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 5th.  Steve has a close friend, Thane, who is also a pilot and they are always keeping close track of each other while flying.  He is the one who called me and told me not to panic, that Steve was down, but was talking to rescuers so he believed he was okay.  The kids and I happened to be already gathered in the living room together which rarely happens in the middle of the afternoon and I told them that Dad was down, but seemed to be okay and we all prayed together and just affirmed that we knew God had heard our prayer that morning that Dad would fly safely and that we knew that God was in control.  I then received another call from Thane who by this time was in his own plane and was over the accident site and he reassured me that Steve seemed okay, but that one passenger, Bill was seriously hurt.  He said they were trying to get snow machines in there and they were taking them to the nearest village clinic.  A little while later Steve called, he seemed to be in shock, but I was able to talk to him for a few minutes.  He said he was okay and so was passenger Brian, but he was really worried about Bill.    

Steve's story is that the weather was a little snowy as he was taking off from Kalskag airport, but he had flown in much worse weather.  He remembers taking off, Brian beside him and Bill in the back.  He remembers getting above the tree line and getting to 300 ft.  He decided he was going to follow the river so he was in the center and could see both sides.  He was feeling comfortable and everything looked good and he was already contemplating what he was going to do when he got to the bend ahead and that's all he remembers.  He says he remembers again when they hit, but not really realizing that he was in an airplane until they had flipped and were upside down.  He remembers seeing that the passenger beside him was okay, but when he looked behind him Bill wasn't there.  He heard moaning outside and found Bill about 30 ft. back in the snow.  His head was split open and he was complaining of chest pains.  Steve immediately used rags to stop the bleeding placing a beanie over them to keep it tight and covered him up to keep him warm.  Steve held him and prayed for him until help arrived.  They medi- vac'd them all to Bethel and then took Bill on to Anchorage.

Steve and Brian were released the next morning with facial cuts and bruises and overall soreness.  The latest update on Bill is that any bleeding in his brain has been taken care of.  There is some spinal injuries, but they have done a lot of testing and see no signs of paralysis.  He also has some broken ribs.  If he kept improving the way he was, they expected him to be out of ICU today. 

Steve is recovering.  The one thing on his mind is Bill and as soon as he can have visitors we will go in to Anchorage to see him. Steve has always had great concern for his passengers, to bring them home safely every night.  On the occasion that he can't pick someone up to get them home because of weather Steve can't sleep that night and is constantly checking weather so he can get them at the earliest time weather allows.  If they're not at home comfortable in their own beds  then he's not comfortable in his.  So I know that Bill is heavy on his heart and it will be really good for him to go see him and see that he is okay. I also see signs of a possible concussion and he tires really easily which if you know Steve that is not at all characteristic.

We have had a whole lot of support here in the community.  Steve is so highly respected as a person and as a pilot.  He has received several emails from teachers and principals and the even Superintendant himself has commented to the fact  that Steve is the only pilot they trust and that they would get in an airplane and fly with him tomorrow. The Superintendent said he wouldn't be able to do his job without Steve and he could care less about the airplane.  He just wants to make sure Steve and the passengers are going to be okay.  He has told us that any medical bills, food, lodging and whatever other costs there are related to the accident are their responsibility. 

We are so thankful for God's protection and that Steve and the passengers survived.  The troopers and everyone who has seen the accident sight say that Someone was watching out for them they can't see how anyone could have survived.        

Thank you again for all of your prayers.  We love and appreciate all of you.

Steve, Karyn and family


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